There are two aspects of right-liberalism to remember here. First, there is the radical individualism, in which people are treated as abstract, atomised individuals without any defining attachment to a communal tradition.
Second, there is the right-liberal commitment to the free market. If society is made up of millions of competing, atomised wills then how can a society hold together? The right-liberal answer is that these competing wills can be harmonised through the pursuit of individual profit in a free market. We can act selfishly for our own profit to the benefit of both society and human progress.
Therefore, right-liberals have a vision of Economic Man, in which we best realise our human purposes through participation in the market.
So it's not surprising that the theme of Murdoch's lecture is the need for Australians to organise themselves more efficiently to compete in the global market.
Murdoch begins his lecture on a positive note: he believes that we have arrived at a golden age for humankind and that "We've seen the unleashing of human talent and ability across our world". Later, we learn that he's referring to the ability of India and China's middle classes to create wealth in the market place - this is his understanding of what human talent and ability are rightly directed to.
He then tells Australians that our greatest challenge is not cultural or spiritual but ... economic. We have to organise ourselves more efficiently to compete in the global market. We have to be a "centre of excellence" - excellence understood, of course, as success in economic competition.
Murdoch then points to the success of India and China's middle classes who, by creating wealth, have shown that they are "intent on developing skills, improving their lives and showing the world what they can do".
We are then informed that Australia has an advantage because we are "an open, democratic and multi-racial society". We have got with the liberal programme in which there is only the individual and our free participation in the market.
Unfortunately, continues Murdoch, radical reform is still needed. Murdoch holds to the right-liberal preference for a small state - therefore, he complains about the growing number of Australians receiving government assistance. He writes: "The larger the government, the less room for Australians to exercise their talents and initiative" (meaning economic talents and initiative).
He writes in a similar vein that what is needed is "smaller government and an end to the paternalism that nourishes political correctness, promotes government interference and undermines freedom and personal responsibility".
We're then told that we have to reform our education system - not to disseminate knowledge and culture - but to best prepare Australians to participate in a global economy. We're back to Economic Man once more.
Murdoch follows this by giving his support to reconciliation with Aborigines and to open borders.
The support for open borders isn't surprising. If we are just atomised individuals realising ourselves in the market place, then you probably won't see the need to limit immigration. It will just appear to be a restriction on the free movement of labour.
This is how Murdoch justifies his support for open borders:
Thank goodness we are beyond where we were a few decades ago. We buried "White Australia", and have raised a modern, diverse society. This does not mean we are neutral or valueless.
We must expect immigrants to learn our language and embrace the principles that make Australia a decent and tolerant nation.
It's interesting that he's defensive about Australia being neutral and valueless. He doesn't exactly disprove the claim: all that immigrants are expected to do is to speak English and embrace the value of tolerance. It doesn't exactly add up to a rich distinctive culture. It could be England, America or New Zealand or anywhere else in the Anglosphere. It's a remarkably "thin" concept of what Australia is.
Murdoch finishes by calling for free trade, the development of clean energy, Australian military involvement to combat terrorism and a republic.
I agree with Murdoch on a few points. I believe it's better to keep the role of the central government limited and to minimise welfare dependency. Nor am I against profit seeking in the market.
I can't, though, follow a philosophy which so limits the concept of who we are and what a community is for. Success in the market might be a necessary thing for a nation, but it doesn't define the purpose of a nation and its institutions.
I am not Economic Man and my abilities and talents do not primarily exist to pursue profit in the market.
When Murdoch was young, the main choices in politics were a left and right-liberalism. It's not surprising, given this limited choice, that a businessman would prefer right-liberalism.
But we now need to think beyond such political limitations. We need to develop a politics which upholds a wider set of goods in society, one which recognises in a more sophisticated way what it means to be human.
We are not just individual agents in a global market; people are not simply latent "human capital" to be liberated for economic purposes. Murdoch's philosophy doesn't do us justice.